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County Board approves 2014 budget

The Pierce County Board of Supervisors approved the 2014 budget last Tuesday. 

The budget was passed with little fanfare, with the exception of Supervisor Greg Place asking for $20,000 from the Contingency Fund to the Building Outlay Fund, as it is the county’s contribution toward the new Veterans Memorial on the courthouse’s front lawn.

Supervisor Michael Kahlow asked why. Place responded by saying it’s the county’s memorial and he felt it was the right thing to do. A majority of his fellow supervisors agreed, as the vote was 15-2 with Kahlow and Dean Bergseng voting no.

What it will mean for the taxpayer is a $42 increase on a $100,000 house and an $85 increase for a $200,000 home in 2014. For county employees, they will see a five percent increase in health premiums, with sheriff employees paying an additional two percent.

Among the notables in the budget are the five new personnel changes for 2014. Among seeing their hours increase from 35 to 40 are a public health nurse, victim witness coordinator and a nutritionist. The other two are eliminating the AODA counselor and replacing that position with a Mental Health Therapist, and the addition of two Economic Support Specialists, which will be covered with federal and state funds.

The total cost for the changes is over $161,000. Pierce County is allocated for about $19,550 of it, with the Mental Health Therapist and Victim Witness Coordinator targeted.

A social worker dealing with the courts was also up for consideration before it was deemed the county would not have enough funds. Human Services Director Ron Schmidt told the board there are grant opportunities available to fill the position, which the county will apply for.

For more please read the Nov. 20 print version of the Herald. 

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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